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Postpartum Depression - What Happens

Symptoms of postpartum depression start in the weeks to months after childbirth, miscarriage, or stillbirth.

In some cases, symptoms peak after slowly building for 3 or 4 months.

Recommended Related to Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a complex mix of physical, emotional, and behavioral changes that happen in a woman after giving birth. According to the DSM IV, a manual used to diagnose mental disorders, PPD is a form of major depression that has its onset within four weeks after delivery. The diagnosis of postpartum depression is based not only on the length of time between delivery and onset, but also on the severity of the depression

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Postpartum depression makes it hard for you to function well. This includes caring for and bonding with your baby.

In rare cases, dangerous postpartum psychosis symptoms can occur within the first few postpartum weeks, as soon as a few days after childbirth.

Early treatment counts

Early treatment is important for you, your baby, and the rest of your family. The sooner you start, the more quickly you will recover. And there's less chance that your depression will affect your baby. Babies of depressed mothers might be less attached to their mothers and might lag behind developmentally in behavior and mental ability.

For more information about who is more likely to have postpartum depression, see What Increases Your Risk.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 16, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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